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IPL 2019 | Pant Sizzles With Unbeaten Fifty at Kotla to Oust Rajasthan

Rajasthan Royals had a faint chance to qualify for the playoffs when they took the field against Delhi Capitals on Saturday (May 4). They had to win the contest and needed to have a whole lot of scenarios to go their way in order to go through. However, very early in the contest all permutations and combinations were thrown out of the window as the visitors capitulated meekly on a sluggish Ferozeshah Kotla surface.

Cricketnext Staff |May 5, 2019, 8:59 AM IST
IPL 2019 | Pant Sizzles With Unbeaten Fifty at Kotla to Oust Rajasthan

Rajasthan Royals had a faint chance to qualify for the playoffs when they took the field against Delhi Capitals on Saturday (May 4). They had to win the contest and needed to have a whole lot of scenarios to go their way in order to go through. However, very early in the contest all permutations and combinations were thrown out of the window as the visitors capitulated meekly on a sluggish Ferozeshah Kotla surface.

Amit Mishra was cruelly denied a fourth IPL hattrick but the leg-spinner still weaved his magic with figures of 3/17 to restrict Rajasthan to 115/9. That they got to a score past 100 was down to 17-year-old Riyan Parag Das, who became the youngest batsman to score a half-century in the IPL. Rishabh Pant then curbed his natural instincts and showed a great sense of level-headedness enroute a 38-ball 53* as Delhi romped home by five wickets and moved to second place on the points table.

Electing to bat first, Rajasthan started off with a bang with Liam Livingstone thumping a flat six over midwicket but it all came falling down for the visitors pretty soon with Ishant Sharma leading the way.

The lanky pacer first had Rahane (2) miscue an innocuous length delivery to Shikhar Dhawan at fine leg and then deceived Livingstone (14) with a well-disguised slower ball that castled his stumps. A huge mix-up between Sanju Samson and Mahipal Lomror followed that saw the former run out for 5 before Ishant struck again getting rid of Lomror caught behind for 8 leaving Rajasthan reeling on 30/4.

Shreyas Gopal and Riyan staged a brief fightback with a 27-run stand but Mishra threw a spanner in their works. The leg-spinner stumped Shreyas packing for 12 and the very next ball had Stuart Binny caught behind for a blob. Mishra should have got his hattrick when incoming batsman K Gowtham went for a slog first up but Trent Boult spilled the skier. The 36-year-old though had his man in his next over caught at long-off as Rajasthan slipped to a sorry 66/7.

At one stage it looked the visitors might not get to 100 but Riyan was not ready to give up. He found an able partner in Ish Sodhi and the duo kept the scoreboard ticking stitching a crucial 30-run stand for the eighth wicket. The visitors finally gained some momentum in the 17th over with Riyan going after Ishant for two successive fours.

The teenager then reached his half-century in the final over off 47 balls by slamming Boult for two sixes. He was dismissed off the last ball of the innings for 50 but ensured Rajasthan got a respectable score. For Delhi, Mishra and Ishant were the most successful bowlers picking up three wickets each while Boult also chipped in with two wickets.

Delhi's chase started off smoothly with Dhawan (16) and Prithvi Shaw (8) crashing Oshane Thomas for three fours in an over but introduction of spin once again proved to be Delhi's undoing. Sodhi, playing just his second game of the season got rid of Dhawan first ball when the opener mishit him down the ground with Riyan completing a good catch running back. The very next ball, Shaw chopped a slightly shortish length delivery back onto his stumps. Pant survived the hattrick ball but the hosts realised the chase was not going to be easy.

Iyer decided to go the aggressive route and plundered Sodhi for two back-to-back sixes to calm some of the Delhi nerves. Pant too didn't wait long to bring out the long handle as he cracked Riyan for two consecutive sixes. But it was this aggression that brought about Iyer's downfall when he hit Gopal straight to Livingstone at long-on for 15.

Pant, however, kept a calm head and alongside Colin Ingram got the chase going. There were no boundaries scored between overs seven to 14 with the duo making sure there were no hiccups going forward. Ingram (12) and Sherfane Rutherford (11) departed in quick succession but Pant kept a calm head throughout. Having been criticised for his shot-making all through this season, the left-hander showed great maturity and took his side home with 23 balls remaining.

Pant ended the game with a massive six off Sodhi that brought up his half-century as well which included two fours and five sixes. For Rajasthan, Sodhi was the wrecker-in-chief claiming 3/26 off his 3.1 overs.

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